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SFA-51 Design Concepts

The Faculty of Interior Architecture / Product Design
4th Year, sem 1, 2019-2020 | Compulsory Course | Hours/Week: 2C | ECTS Credits: 2
Study of Form and Ambience
Course Leader:
Mirela Duculescu
Learning outcomes:

- Familiarity with notions, methods (classical and current) and concepts regarding the practice in design that allow students to form their own critical approach and specialized language;
- Familiarity with a series of approaches regarding the understanding of design in relation to methodologies of interpretation, concepts and ideologies, as well as through the relation between the idea and the transposition into practice;
- Familiarity with critical reading and easy interpretation of a specialized text (see the package of the required readings) through documentation in context, formulation of arguments and questions.


1 / Introduction to methodology (design thinking etc.). Classic methods / new methods (Ch. Jones, N. Cross)

2 / Methodology and current theories of design interpretation / Part I

3 / Methodology and current theories of design interpretation / Part II

4 / Technology and design / craft and design

5 / Democratic design

6 / Design for all / universal design

7 / Ecological design and sustainability

8 / Contemporary concepts in design

9/ Classic and new methods. Methodology and current theories of design interpretation/ Part 1
Required readings / RR

Branzi, Andrea. “We are the Primitives.” Design Discourse. History. Theory. Criticism.
ed. Victor Margolin. University of Chicago Press, 1989. 37-41.

Buchanan, Richard. “Declaration by Design: Rhetoric, Argument, and Demonstration in Design Practice.” Design Issues 2.1 (Spring 1985): 4-22.

Cross, Nigel. “New Design Procedures” (Chapter 4), Engineering. Design Methods. Strategies for Product Design, 3.ed., Wiley, Londra, 2005, pp. 45-59.

Sudjic, Deyan. “A is for Authentic,” B is for Bauhaus. An A – Z of the Modern World, Penguin Books, Londra, 2014. 1-20.

Zhao, T. J., & Siu, K. W. M. “The boundaries of public space: A case study of Hong Kong’s mass transit railway.” International Journal of Design 8:2(2014): 43-60.

10/ Methodology and current theories of design interpretation/ Part 2/ Required readings / RR

Buckley, Cheryl. “Made in Patriarchy: Toward a Feminist Analysis of Women and Design,” Design Issues 3.2 (Autumn, 1986): 3-14.

Labrague, Michelle. “Patagonia, A Case Study in the Historical Development of Slow Thinking”, Journal of Design History 30.2 (2017): 175-191.

Mollebaek Larsen, Marie Louise et al. “The Use of Design Game in the Third World Research,” Leeberg Malene&Lene Wul, eds., Design and Responsibility: Potential and Pitfalls (8th Nordcode Seminar and Workshop, 27-29 May 2009), Denmark, 2012. 138-159.

Sanders, Elizabeth B.-N. & Pieter Jan Stappers. “Co-creation and the new landscapes of design,” CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts 4:1(2008): 5-18.

Parsons, Tim. “Design for Debate,” Thinking objects. Contemporary Approaches to Product Design, AVA Publishing, Laussane, 2009. 143-148.

Roy, Ankita. A Designer's Manifesto: Designing in a Complex World, PLOT(S) 3(2016): 12-18.

11/ Technology and design / craft and design/ Required readings, RR
Carter, Trudie. “Frank Kolkman creates death simulation machine using virtual reality,” Dezeen, 23 nov. 2017

Gibson, Grant. “The Rise of Craftsmanship,” Design and Making, Danish Crafts, 2011. 20-25.

Gropius, Walter. “Programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar (1919).” Trans. Wolfgang Jabs and Basil Gilbert. Programs and Manifestoes on 20th Century Architecture.Ed. Ulrich Conrad. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970.49-53. Vezi și Nicolae Lascu, coord., Funcțiune și formă, Editura Meridiane, 1989. 180-184.
---. “Bauhaus Dessau - Principles of Bauhaus Production 1926.” Trans. Wolfgang Jabs and Basil Gilbert. Form and Function: A Source Book for the History of Architecture and Design 1890-1939. Eds. Tim and Charlotte Benton. London: Crosby Lockwood Staples, 1975.148-9.
---. “Bauhaus. Idee și constituire, 1923.” extras din Nicolae Lascu, coord. , Funcțiune și formă, Editura Meridiane, 1989. 253-269

Morris, William. “The Art of the People (1879)” Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.179-182.
---. “The Revival of Handicraft (1888)” Morris on Art and Design. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996. 186-197.
---. “Art under Plutocracy (1883),” The Collected Works of William Morris, Cambridge, 2012. 164-191.

Tsaknaki, Vasiliki et al. “Precious materials of interaction – exploring interactive accessories as jewellery items,” Nordes, Design ecologies, 6 (2015): 1-10.

Wilson, Mark. “Why Virtual Reality Will Change Design Forever,” 2016,

12/ Design for all / universal design/ Required readings, RR
Dennis, Joseph. “Universal Design. New Relevancy for the 21st Century,” ASID/ICON (Summer 2004): 12-22.

Fletcher, Valerie. “Universal Design, Human-Centered Design for the 21st Century,”, retrieved 21 February 2009

Zitkus, Emilene et al. “The Limits of Inclusive Design in the Current Design Practice”, University of Cambridge, 2013,, accesat 21 august 2015

13/ Ecodesign and sustainability/ Required readings, RR
Margolin, Victor.”Design for a Sustainable World.” Design Issues 14.2 (1998): 83-92.

Manzini, Ezio. ”Limits and Possibilities of Ecodesign. From the <<ecologcial re-design>> of products to the suggestion of <<new environmental scenarios>>” 1992,

Marian, Simone și Alvise Matozzi. “Responsibility through Design. Design through Semiotics,” Leeberg Marlene&Lee Wul, eds., Design and Responsibility: Potential and Pitfalls (8th Nordcode Seminar and Workshop, 27-29 May 2009), Denmark, 2012. 120-134.

Pan, Yue at al. “Fashion Thinking: Fashion Practices and Sustainable Interaction Design” International Journal of Design 9.1(2015): 53-66.

Papanek, Victor. Preface to the First Edition, Preface to the Second Edition. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. 2nd ed. Chcago: Academy Chicago Pub., 1984.i-xxi

14/ Contemporary concepts in design. Design activism/ Required readings, RR

Bjögvinsson, Pelle Ehn, Per-Anders Hillgren. “Design Things and Design Thinking: Contemporary Participatory Design Challenges.” Design Issues 28.3 (2012): 101-116.

Fenko, Anna at al. “Noisy Products: Does Appearance Matter?” International Journal of Design 5.3(2011): 77-87.

Fuad-Luke, Alastair. “Contemporary Expressions: Design Activism, 2000 Onwards.” Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World, Earthscan, London, 2009. 77-138.

Siegel, Dmitri. “Designing Our Own Graves.” Design Observer blog. articol postat la 6 iunie 2006. (accesat la 18 septembrie 2008).

Stairs, David. “Biophilia and Technophilia: Examining the Nature/Culture Split in Design Theory,” [short version] Design Issues 13.3 (1997): 37-44.

Camocini, Barbara, “Reloading Spaces: How design makes urban spaces more liveable”, IDEA Journal, Urban+Interior, 2015, pp. 119-129

Jaffe, Eric. “City Life Changes How Our Brains Deal with Distractions”, 30 ian. 2013,, accesat la 19 martie 2017

Parkinson, John. “Protest and the Plaza: Engaging the Formal Public Sphere”, Democracy & Public Space. The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 146-172

Steven Brower. “Mirko Ilić’s Mission to Promote Social Tolerance,” 30 dec. 2017,

Teaching Method:

The course is based on lecture, problematizing, case studies, comments on required readings and interactivity (question-response technique) in order to determine the students to participate actively. The written paper (essay) due at the end of the semester stands for an academic exercise for developing students’ skills (looking, thinking and making sense of design objects) while trying to grasp the conceptual relationship between form and content.


- essay (written work) with a subject of choice (approx. 2000 words);
- oral presentation on the text of a choice from the compulsory readings package (required readings);
- written examination of the topics discussed during classes.

Sesiune de evaluare online/ iunie-iulie 2020

Reexaminare (restanță) Concepte în Design, an 4, sem. 1
Grupa 41D, specializarea design de produs

Dată reexaminare: 16 iunie 2020

Temă/ Referat/ Analizați critic un capitol dintr-o carte sau un articol, la alegere, din bibliografia transmisă la începutul cursului (sem.1, 2019): argumentație (puncte tari, puncte slabe), relevanța pentru stadiul actual al designului și/sau proiecte și alte lecturi personale de specialitate. Comentați ideile expuse și problematica adusă în discuție fără a neglija contextul din care provine autorul articolului.
Format – între 3 și 4 pagini (cca 1400-1500 de cuvinte, spațiat la 1,5 rânduri)

Predare online/ recenzia corespunzătoare reexaminării pentru cursul de Concepte în Design, an 4, sem. 1, se va trimite pe email până la data de 16 iunie 2020.
Email de predare și contact:
Termen de predare: 16 iunie 2020, ora 12.30


Binder, Thomas, Giorgio de De Michelis et al. Design Things (Design Thinking, Design Theory), MIT Press, 2011
Cross, Nigel Engineering. Design Methods. Strategies for Product Design, 3.ed., Wiley, Londra, 2005;
Crowley, David și Jane Pavitt, eds. Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970, V&A Publishing, 2008
Duculescu, Mirela. “Mapping the Narrative of Romanian Design,” carte-catalog pentru expoziția Common Roots. Design Map of Central Europe (Holon Design Museum, Israel, November 15, 2012 – March 02, 2013), Holon. 22-35.
Dyson, James Against the Odds (an autobiography), Orin Publishing Book, Londra 1998
Fallan, Kjetil Scandinavian Design. Alternative Histories, Berg Publishers, 2012
IDEO. Human Centered Design Toolkit: An Open-Source Toolkit To Inspire New Solutions in the Developing World, 2nd edition, 2011
Jones, Christopher. Design. Metode și aplicații, traducere din limba engleză de ing. Margareta Dan și arh. Virgil Salvanu după ediția din 1970, București, Editura Tehnică, 1975.
Kelly, Tom The Art of Innovation (Lessons in Creativity from IDEO), Harper Collins Publisher, Londra, 2001
McDonough, William și Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, 2002/Macmillan 2010
Manzini, Ezio. Designul, când toți suntem designeri. O introducere în inovație socială, trad. Simona Nichiteanu, Ed. Vellant, 2018
Margolin, Victor. World History of Design, 3 vol., Bloomsbury Academic, Londra, 2015
---. The Politics of the Artificial: Essays on Design and Design Studies. University of Chicago Press, 2002
---. The Idea of Design, 1995
---. Design Discourse. History. Theory. Criticism. University of Chicago Press, 1989
Myerson, Jeremy IDEO – Masters of Innovation, Laurence King Publishing, Londra, 2001
Norman, Don(ald). The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition, New York, Basic Books, 2013/ Designul lucrurilor de zi cu zi, trad. Mihaela Sofonea, ed. 1, București, Editura Publica, 2010
Papanek, Victor. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. New York, Pantheon Books, 1971 (sau orice altă ediție)/ Design pentru lumea reală. Ecologie umană și schimbare socială, trad. Cristina Sabău și Roxana Aneculăesei, Editura Publica, 2018
Parsons, Tim. Thinking objects. Contemporary Approaches to Product Design, AVA Publishing, Laussane, 2009
Preiser, F.E. Wolfgang și Korydon H. Smith. Universal Design Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011
Rashid, Karim Design your self, Lia Potec trad., București: Editura Publica, București, 2008


The course investigates selectively methods and practices related to design from the end of the nineteenth century to present, focusing on Europe and North America. Design is looked at in relation to architecture, arts and technology. This course examines historiographically the theoretical origins and the continuity of concepts that have been applied to design in various political and socio-economic contexts.

Plagiarism should be avoided in all its forms. About plagiarism, types of plagiarism as incorrect academic practice and rules of avoidance, see the Code of Ethics and University Ethics of UAUIM and / or:, accessed September 20, 2019, accessed September 24, 2019

Illustration by Laura Cristea and Cristina Popescu
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